Letter regarding candidates' access to public places
Subject: Access to Public Places and Residential Dwellings by Candidates and Their Representatives
Dear Madam or Sir:
I am writing to inform you of certain provisions in the Canada Elections Act. The Act gives candidates and their representatives a right of access to buildings, land, streets or other places that are open without charge to the public. It is an offence under the Canada Elections Act for persons in control of public places, such as shopping malls, to prevent candidates and their representatives from campaigning when the premises are open without charge to members of the public. This right of access exists equally for all candidates, irrespective of their political affiliation or the views that they promote.
The only exceptions are if the campaigning activities would be incompatible with the function and purpose of the place or inconsistent with public safety. These are narrow exceptions that I expect will find application only in rare circumstances.
In addition, the Canada Elections Act requires that administrators of gated communities provide to candidates and their representatives access to those communities between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.
The Canada Elections Act also contains other access rights, including the right of candidates and their representatives to have access, within apartment buildings and condominiums between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., to canvass at the doors of apartments, units or houses, as the case may be. As well, candidates and their representatives have a corresponding right to campaign in the common areas of multiple-residence buildings during those hours. This right of access may only be denied by a person in control of a multiple residence building whose residents' physical or emotional well-being may be harmed as a result.
Persons who contravene these rules are liable to a fine of up to $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of up to six months, or to both.
For more information, see the enclosed relevant provisions of the Canada Elections Act or visit www.elections.ca.
Acting Chief Electoral Officer
Provisions of the Canada Elections Act
Regarding Access to Residential Dwellings and Public Places
81. (1) No person who is in control of an apartment building, condominium building or other multiple-residence building or a gated community may prevent a candidate or his or her representative from
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of a person who is in control of a multiple residence building whose residents' physical or emotional well-being may be harmed as a result of permitting canvassing or campaigning referred to in that subsection.
- (a) in the case of an apartment building, condominium building or gated community, canvassing, between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., at the doors to the apartments, units or houses, as the case may be; or
- (b) in the case of a multiple-residence building, campaigning, between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., in a common area in the multiple residence.
81.1 (1) No person who is in control of a building, land, street or any other place, any part of which is open without charge to members of the public, whether on a continuous, periodic or occasional basis — including any commercial, business, cultural, historical, educational, religious, governmental, entertainment or recreational place — may prevent a candidate or his or her representative from campaigning in or on that part when it is open without charge to members of the public.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of a place if campaigning in or on it would be incompatible with the function and purpose of the place or inconsistent with public safety.
(2) Every person who contravenes subsection 81(1) (refusal to give access to building or gated community) or subsection 81.1(1) (refusal to give access to place open to the public) is guilty of an offence.
(2) Every person who is guilty of an offence under any of subsections 484(2) and 486(2), paragraph 487(1)(a), subsections 488(1), 489(2) and 491(2), section 493 and subsections 495(2) and (3), 497.1(2) and 497.2(2) is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.